Burden of illness, quality of life, and healthcare utilization among patients with herpes zoster in South Korea: A prospective clinical-epidemiological study

Hae Jun Song, Jeongdeuk Lee, Muhyung Lee, Wonseok Choi, Jung Hyun Choi, Mi Suk Lee, Mahdi Hashemi, Emmanouil Rampakakis, Kosuke Kawai, Ron White, Camilo Acosta, John S. Sampalis, Hee-Jin Cheong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To assess the herpes zoster (HZ) disease burden, including the severity and duration of HZ-associated pain, its impact on quality of life (QoL), and healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) in a South Korean clinical setting. Methods: Patients aged ≥50 years were followed prospectively for ≤6 months. Based on the duration of their episode at enrolment, cases were classified as incident (<7 days) or prevalent (≥7 days). HZ pain and discomfort were measured with the HZ Severity of Illness (HZ-SOI) severity-by-duration composite score. Results: One hundred fifty-one patients (69.5% prevalent cases) were enrolled. Prodrome pain was experienced by 68.2% of patients, of whom 95.1% experienced moderate-to-severe pain; post-herpetic neuralgia was experienced by 38.4%. Prevalent disease, higher acute pain, and older age were significant predictors of greater HZ-SOI, while use of antivirals was associated with decreased HZ-SOI. HZ-associated pain was associated with reduced QoL and affected all daily living activities (particularly mood, life enjoyment, general activities, and sleep), resulting in significant HCRU, including primary care doctor, specialist, or physiotherapist consultations, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits. Conclusion: Severe morbidity, impaired QoL, and significant HCRU are associated with HZ in South Korea, especially in older patients, supporting the need for early intervention and preventive strategies to reduce the HZ-associated disease burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar 1



  • Burden of illness
  • Herpes zoster
  • Observational
  • Pain
  • Quality of life
  • South Korea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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